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Bruce m. Conkey
UKC Forum Member

Registered: May 2016
Location: Palatka, FL
Posts: 3294

The Coonhound Game goes around in Circles!

Back 60, 70 or even 100 years ago. What did it take to own a coon hound and how did you know if you had one. I think it was actually simpler to answer that question back then, than it is today. It took a lot of nights in the woods and it took a pup that had some genetics that made it want to tree. You knew that you had what your were looking for, by the number of coon your harvested. The score was kept with the rifle and the dogs were kept because they could score.

Back then spending a lot of nights in the woods was a thing to do. It didn't interfere will all the things we have to do today when it gets dark. Also spending a lot of nights in the woods meant some income or food for the family. So the dogs that were trainable got trained. It was also known that it took a couple years for that young dog to mature and be exposed to enough training to make a fair hound. That was acceptable as you generally had a young one coming along that in a couple years would hopefully be your replacement hound. We should all agree that communication back then wasn't what it is today and the genetic pool of our hounds were generally a selection of local dogs.

Then also many years ago people figured out that you could have some fun and competition with our dogs. Then from that competition the word got out about this dog or that dog and people wanted to breed to it. The gene pool was getting larger and more and more combination of genes were being put together. Many for the improvement of the coon hound game and some worked against it.

Then in the 80's and 90's more and more emphasis was put on pups from certain strains or groups of our hounds. Some of these pups were exactly what they were advertised to be. A pup bred to tree coon while many, even brothers and sister of this pup fell short. Many fell short because the hunting and training that was done with dogs 100 years ago wasn't being done then. The dogs were bred better, but the training slowed down. Now it didn't slow down for everyone but a lot of the people on the sidelines wanting a coon hound got them one. It worked because people purchased a better bred pup and got something out of the genetics.

I will say that during the 60's and 70's there was a need for the genetics to get better and it did. But I also think it caused a mind set that has hurt the coon hunter. That mind set is that it is all Genetics. Many hunters were not good trainers because of they didn't put in the time with the dog or they didn't understand the dog. But when those people went through enough dogs and found the pup that trained itself if they got out of its way. They were sold on Genetics. Genetics is needed and Great. Just not as consistent with results as training. Yes training without genetics takes longer but still works. Today we get genetics without training BRED everyday and that is hurting.

I think in todays world we have came full circle in the fact that our dogs need exactly what they needed 100 years ago and that is to be hunted. The problem is people are still putting the emphasis on the genetics that was needed in the 70's. Like instant rice, they want to breed that instant coon hound. When in fact the breeding methods they are choosing to get that instant hound are hurting the breeds. Dogs have been bred with the emphasis to do things so intensely, they don't know what not to do. They have been bred with little regard for genetic illness or negative genetic traits.

If the people that bred more than they hunted slowed down, things would be a lot better. The emphasis today should be on training. Why because most of the pups born today have all the genetic ability they need. But they are not getting the hunting and training they need. That allows us to uncover the genetic flaws they carry before they themselves are bred.

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Old Post 06-24-2018 03:03 PM
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Lynn Tubbs
UKC Forum Member

Registered: Jan 2004
Location: Conway, Ark.
Posts: 137

Bruce, good post. That being said I believe alot of these dogs are being competition hunted way to early. Alot of people will get a young dog and get it started treeing coons and start competition hunting it too soon. Also, do you think the coon population plays a part in today's situation with our dogs? Our coon populaion here and I believe everywhere else is alot greater than it used to be. I remember back in late fifties, my dad seeing and telling about his first coon track. It was big news.

Last edited by Lynn Tubbs on 06-24-2018 at 03:58 PM

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Old Post 06-24-2018 03:53 PM
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joey
UKC Forum Member

Registered: Jun 2012
Location: McRae Ar
Posts: 3342

Your only going to have as good as you will accept. If your willing to accept a slick treeing dog that is what you will have. I might get rocks thrown at me but I really believe the pup programs have done a lot to hurt our dogs. I also think the pup programs have lowered the quality of the dogs being hunted in the hunts. In the late 90's early 2000 when you showed up at a hunt the dogs were hard to beat. They were older and more experienced. You drew a lot of 5 and 6 year old coondogs. Now all you ever draw are young dogs that get sold before their superstates are up. Bruce I dont know how much the dogs have changed but the hunters sure have.

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Old Post 06-24-2018 05:31 PM
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Reuben
UKC Forum Member

Registered: Nov 2011
Location: Freeport,TX
Posts: 377

then and now

I have opinions on both the old and new times...theories should be my middle name...lol

back in the 1960's and 1970's when I was a kid folks caught coons for the hides....they ate the meat or sold it or fed it to the dogs...if you caught coons you had a good dog or set of dogs...in my opinion most people wouldn't want a dog that started very late...if a dog wanted to eat he had to catch game and this was a good incentive in the dog starting early...at least that was the way it was with my dogs back then...

back before telemetry the hounds were open on track on account the hunter wanted to know where his dog located a track,where he was located and which direction he was moving...so that was important...the dog didn't have to be super fast on track as long as he finished the job in an acceptable time frame...

the standard was on how well the dog could produce game consistently (strike, locate and tree in a reasonable time frame)which is probably the best standard in rating a good hunting dog...

the thing that many hunters back then thought about line breeding and inbreeding, was that it produced deformed and retarded dogs...I would agree if done incorrectly...

nowadays a dog only needs to bark just enough so that it can be identified as the first to strike, locate and tree...it doesn't matter exactly how it happens as long as it does...there is a fine line in getting the right dog to hunt this way...and that same fine line is needed to produce those kind of dogs which is even harder to do...

most everyone on this site are competition hunters and probably will not agree with what I am saying...back then in the 60's, 70" & 80's many meat and pleasure hunters didn't agree with how some of the competition dogs hunted...

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Old Post 06-24-2018 06:14 PM
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Lynn Tubbs
UKC Forum Member

Registered: Jan 2004
Location: Conway, Ark.
Posts: 137

Joey, I agree with you on the pup progams hurting the quality of the dogs.

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Old Post 06-24-2018 07:45 PM
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Bruce m. Conkey
UKC Forum Member

Registered: May 2016
Location: Palatka, FL
Posts: 3294

.

Ruben your right because now you keep score on a scorecard and back then you kept it with a gun. I am sure not saying one is or was better than the other. Just different standards working towards a different outcome. You carried a gun or axe and you expected to also carry a coon home. Now you carry a score card and try to figure out if your seeing eyes in the tree. Even if you arent, convince the judge you are and your carrying a trophy home.

Guess the point I was trying to make is that in the beginning training went a long ways getting your farm dog to produce coon. Then trough breeding the trainable dogs we improved to the point of genetics going a long ways towards having a coondog. Even if they knew very little about training. Just give them woods time. Today we are almost at a genetic overload. It is back to we just need to train one like grandpa did and not breed more counterfits. Thinking the next litter will have that superstar to make you famous. With a little more hunting and training the last litter might have had two or three.

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Old Post 06-24-2018 07:50 PM
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yadkintar
UKC Forum Member

Registered: Jan 2013
Location: Marietta
Posts: 6477

Depends on what you are breeding for Bruce you bring a dog here that's short of brains , guts ,nose and heart your going to look at a lot of trees with nothing in it now take that dog to a coon zoo up north he might fetch big prices. Some just ain't trainable and I thought I could fix anything lol.



Tar

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Old Post 06-24-2018 07:56 PM
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Larry Atherton
UKC Forum Member

Registered: Jun 2003
Location: Central Michigan
Posts: 6409

Humans are very good at repeating history over and over. You want a real lesson look at old newspapers. We are still making the same mistakes.

Why should coon hunting be any different?

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